Criminal data breaches over the Internet will cost businesses around the world a total of US$8 trillion over the next five years, according to a new report.
The report, by Juniper Research, also forecasts that the number of personal data records stolen by cyber criminals will reach 2.8 billion in 2017, and almost double to 5 billion in 2020.
All this, says Juniper, despite new and innovative cyber security solutions emerging, and with cyber security problems becoming particularly acute when businesses integrate.
Juniper attributes the massive increase in data breaches over the next five years to higher levels of Internet connectivity and “inadequate” enterprise-wide security.
The research found that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are particularly at risk from cyber attacks, spending less than US$4000 on cyber security measures this year.
And, Juniper notes that only marginal increases in security spend are expected over the next five years and that SMEs also tend to run older software which, it claimed, WannaCry and other recent cyber attacks have exploited.
The research highlights a need for companies to put more money into cyber security and system upkeep, which Juniper says should be treated as a vital element of workplace safety.
“The attacks on hospital infrastructure show that inadequate cyber security can now cost lives as well as money,” said Juniper research author James Moar.
“Businesses of all sizes need to find the time and budget to upgrade and secure their systems, or lose the ability to perform their jobs safely, or at all.”
Juniper’s threat analysis also shows that ransomware is becoming a far more advanced form of malware, as ransoming stored data and devices becomes easier and more valuable than stealing financial details.
The research firm says it expects ransomware to rapidly develop into simple-to-use toolkits, the same way banking trojans developed into “products that required little or no programming knowledge to use”.